WATCH | Springboks arrive in Port Elizabeth ahead of trophy tour
A jubilant crowd welcomed the 2019 Rugby World Cup champions as they arrived in Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon ahead of their trophy tour around Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday.
Hundreds of supporters dressed in green and gold shouted with joy, waved South African flags and blew vuvuzelas as the Springboks arrived shortly after 5pm.
Elsie Stuurman was among those who came out to show her support.
“It’s so amazing to watch people so united. We are grateful and so proud of the Springboks for what they have done for the country,” she said.
Bongeka Ntlangwini said the victory should be celebrated by all South Africans.
“I’m not even a rugby fan but when any South African team wins, it is cause for celebration for all who love and live in this country,” she said.
Lynette Shaw said: “I’m so happy that we have the privilege to receive the team to Siya Kolisi's home. His story is very inspirational and it warms my heart that kids from his home will get to meet our national team.”
Members from Kolisi’s old rugby team, African Bombers, were also at the airport.
Coach Zola Coto said: “We are very excited to have the team bring the trophy to Siya’s hometown. What they have done has really united the nation and we hope things stay this way. He’s inspired the team and taught us that we can do anything.”
Mayor Mongameli Bobani said the city was proud to welcome the team to Kolisi’s hometown.
“What Siya is doing now is exactly in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela,” he said.
“When Nelson Mandela stepped onto the stadium for the first time wearing a Springbok jersey, that changed the image of South Africans... and he said the sport [would] bring all societies together. This world cup has been about the unity we needed.”
The Springboks trophy tour, which has already been to Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and East London, starts its Nelson Mandela Bay leg at the City Hall at 9am on Sunday, ending at Greenacres in the afternoon.
The tour ends in Cape Town on Monday.